Despite the awful pregnancy, dreadful labour, terrible emergency Caesarean Section and slow recovery, the thing that most put me off having another child was the Second Year of Doom.
For those of you unacquainted with the Second Year of Doom, this is when your (until now) coddled and healthy one year-old baby starts some form of childcare and immediately picks up every virus known to mankind, and several thousand that aren’t. Worse than this, of course, is the inexplicable fact that you and your partner will also get these bugs, despite your supposedly mature immune system. Then factor in that the reason your baby is in childcare in the first place is because you are supposed to be back at work, not off sick or looking after a poorly child every third day, and the whole situation becomes incredibly stressful. Plus you’re paying for childcare you can’t use because either you or your child has liquids squirting from pretty much everything that could be reasonably described as an orifice.
I admit I was slightly smug this time, as we approached the Second Year of Doom, and I have no plans to be back in the office and so YoungestGirl has no need for childcare. “Huzzah!” I thought. “We shall remain germ-free and resilient!”
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
In the last four months I would say there were probably five days when we would all have described ourselves as uniformly healthy. As I type this, the whingeiest baby in the world (YoungestGirl) has been put down for her second nap of the day, which she doesn’t normally have, because I have just run out of things to try. She doesn’t want to play. She doesn’t want to eat. She doesn’t want to drink. She just wants to cry. The only thing that seems to make her happy is wiping her runny nose on my clothing. She has had as much Calpol and Calprofen as you’re allowed to squirt down their throats, so that’s that. She might as well sleep.
EldestGirl celebrated Mothers’ Day by profusely vomiting. This is the third out of five Mothers’ Days she has done this on. I am beginning to take it personally.
TheBloke (TM) has a “sniffy nose”, so we should all take a minute to send atheist prayers his way.
I have worked out what the problem is though. It’s going out. I have been trying to effectively socialise my children at nurseries, playgroups, music groups, and, even though it’s Satan’s Ball Pit of Fiery Hell itself – soft play. I think my children just see these outings as an opportunity to stock up their germ reserves. At the last playgroup I went to, I watched a four year-old calmly and methodically lick a toy all over for no particular reason. When he had put it down, YoungestGirl toddled over, picked the toy up, and then started licking it herself.
So. No more going out. From now on, we will be cloistered like the Nunns we are. If we do need to go out for an emergency (severed finger, flood, fire, run out of chocolate etc.) then I will be investing in some giant inflatable hamster balls in which my children can remain until the emergency has passed and they can be safely back in the Nunnery.